How to Tell Which Coronavirus Stories are Trustworthy

By Leah Aulisio-Sharpe ’22, April 30, 2020
IC media literacy organization creates new lessons related to COVID-19 for K-12 and college educators.

In response to the current global pandemic, Project Look Sharp is offering free lessons for educators that focus on COVID-19-related issues. Instructors will be able to download these new media literacy lessons and share them with their students who are working remotely. The program is also working to provide free demonstration videos on how to lead media decoding using online technology.

Project Look Sharp is a media-literacy program that provides professional development, resources and support for the integration of media literacy throughout curriculum.

“The skills of media analysis are relevant to any field at any time,” said Cyndy Scheibe, executive director and founder. “But in the realm of the life-threatening COVID-19 pandemic, it's more important than ever for people to be able to know where to get current and accurate information, and to be able to judge the credibility of the information they see, read and hear from multiple sources." 

Project Look Sharp offers more than 450 free lessons on their website. These lessons have been grant-funded by many contributors, including Ithaca College and the Park Foundation.

“In the realm of the life-threatening COVID-19 pandemic, it's more important than ever for people to be able to know where to get current and accurate information.”

Cyndy Scheibe

“We hope that the lessons will serve as a model for educators to build media literacy into other aspects of their teaching and to help students develop an ongoing habit of inquiry,” Scheibe said.

The new lessons include:

For high school and college students 

Misinformation about COVID-19: How to Figure it Out
Students will analyze videos for messages about how to spot misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social Media Goes Viral: Fact Checking Messages About COVID-19
Students will analyze a text message, a Facebook post, a webpage from a fact-checking organization and a tweet from the World Health Organization for messages about credibility of Internet information about precautionary health measures for COVID-19.

Trusting Web Videos on COVID-19 (Or Not)
Students will analyze four video clips of people giving prevention advice during the Covid-19 crisis: President Donald Trump; Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; a New York City primary care doctor during an online family information session and a naturopathic doctor during a televangelist TV program.

Extra Credit

These are just some of the coronavirus-related lessons that are available for free through Project Look Sharp. Additional content can be found by going to the Project Look Sharp website and searching “COVID-19”

For upper elementary and middle school students

“The Truth About Coronavirus” - Google Searching For COVID-19
Students will analyze results from two Google searches, one for “coronavirus” and one for “the real truth about coronavirus,” to reflect on the impact of search terms on the sources that Google recommends.

For elementary students                      

Wash Your Hands – What’s the Right Way?
Students will analyze a comic, a graphic, a music video and a public service announcement for messages about the best way to wash your hands to protect yourself from getting sick.